Architecture, Single Family Home, Reno, Nevada, American West, Desert, Energy Efficiency, High Performance, Metal Siding
OPA designs its faceted â€˜shapeshifterâ€™ house outside reno, nevada for two art collectors and dealers specializing in contemporary art and art of the american west. following the clientsâ€™ move from the arid high desert outside of reno to a less remote site overlooking the city, the team generated a house that both reflects the contemporary moment and explicitly embraces the harsh climate of the west. influenced by the the new site, which looks out toward the desert mountains in the distance, the team at OPA treats the desert as a real environment as well as its ambivalent role in the cultural imagination.
with â€˜shapeshifter,â€™ OPA explores slippery form by treating the ground as a mutable material, an untapped unconscious. inspired by desert topography, the team reshapes the site to recall landform conditions and folding layers of rock â€” gradually the form of the house emerged with the terrain. what was at first conceived of as a soft form was hardened into a faceted mesh. every edge is entirely shared â€” no edges terminate in the middle of another edge. the result expresses a flow of space that supports extreme difference without discontinuities. elements of the house slide into each other with shifting relationships of fractured symmetries, local axes, and embedded parallelisms. topologically, the house is spatially slippery, a twisted torus with several secondary and tertiary bubbles of space.
OPA investigates a new model for ecological architecture in the design of â€˜shapeshifter.â€™ the project develops a synthetic ground to protect the house against its harsh desert landscape. with this approach, site and landscape are inextricably linked. formally, the house is carved from a thick shell, composed either of the natural ground or a two-foot thick, heavily insulated wall and roof assemblies. like a high desert creature, the house uses the thickness of the ground â€” both real and synthetic â€” as a buffer against the harsh desert landscape. the result is a high-performance passive structure which maintains a comfortable living temperature using only radiant heating and cooling.